How to make your home safer and more energy efficient using smart tech

Many smart devices are connected through your phone, allowing you to have full access of your technology even when you're out and about (Photo: Shutterstock)
Many smart devices are connected through your phone, allowing you to have full access of your technology even when you're out and about (Photo: Shutterstock)
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Technology is bigger and better than ever before - here's what you need to know about the best tech for your home

From light bulbs to security to entertainment, there is tech available to make your home the futuristic living space you’ve always dreamed of.

Google Homes and Amazon Alexas are only the tip of the tech iceberg that can make your life easier and your home more secure.

Security

Starting outside the home, smart doorbells are the latest and greatest in security technology designed to keep your home safe.

Combining built-in cameras, microphones, speaker systems and more to keep you connected to your home while you’re away, the popularity of smart doorbells is quickly growing among safety savvy homeowners.

While smart doorbells differ from brand to brand, the usual features found in the gadgets include:

Getting a notification when someone rings your doorbell

Recording audio and video of those in view

Allowing the owner to speak to the visitor through their connected device

This means that if you’re out and about, you can be rest assured that your home isn’t being scoped out by possible trespassers and burglars.

For the more traditional buyer, standard security cameras are getting the tech treatment too.

Where some security cameras are indoor only, there are others that have been put through the required weatherproofing to allow you to keep an eye on every part of your house.

With a multitude of brands on the market - from ones you might have heard of, like Hive and Nest, to ones you haven’t - there will be a camera that suits your needs.

Entertainment system upgrades

From practicality to fun, there is a wealth of tech out there dedicated solely to your entertainment needs.

Starting with TVs, the fads of 3D and curved screens have been shunned in favour of picture quality and resolution.

But with so many big names in the game, including Samsung, Panasonic and LG, it can be overwhelming to know where to start narrowing your options down.

You need to figure out what you want your smart TV to do. Connect to online streaming like Netflix or Amazon prime? Be able to control other household appliances? Sophisticated lighting effects to get fully immersed in your media?

If you really want to take your entertainment system to the next level, soundbars are worth considering.

Sitting underneath your TV, a soundbar is much superior to your TV’s built in speakers, meaning you’ll never miss a line of dialogue again. A soundbar will give you much improved audio and close enough to surround sound that a home cinema offers - just without all the wires and multiple speakers.

Not just for watching films or the latest gaming, a soundbar generally also offers bluetooth, meaning it doubles up as a hi-fi speaker that can deliver your favourite tunes in all their glory.

Keeping things clean

The technology around robot vacuum cleaners is the best it’s ever been. Moving away from merely being a novelty, they will now clean your home as well as you do - if not better.

The way your house is laid out will more effectively dictate which vacuum is best for you - low beds and sofas will require a smaller model to get to the tricky to reach places. Hard floors, thick rugs and carpeted flooring all lend themselves to different models.

Smart vacuums will come with a variety of modes as well, letting you choose how you want your robot cleaner to spend its time. Common modes include auto (which lets the vacuum go until the battery runs out), edge (for tricky corners and hard to clean edges) and turbo (the strongest setting to pick up the most dust).

Set the mood

Toeing the line between practical and fun, smart bulbs have seen an increase in popularity in recent years. Run through a connected device such as a smartphone or tablet, there’s something appealing about being able to control all of the lights in your house from one spot, without having to get out of your seat.

More than just potentially putting the light switch out of business, smart bulbs and lighting can be utilised in a variety of ways, from controlling lights remotely to synchronising lighting to music.

Another plus for the tech is the environmental impact that it holds - being able to control lighting from your phone means a light will never be accidentally left on all day ever again. We can be more mindful with the energy we use, dimming lights or switching them off entirely when we don’t even need to be in the room.